Reigate, Surrey Family History Guide

Reigate St Mary Magdalene is an Ancient Parish and a market town in the county of Surrey.

Other places in the parish include: Redhill, Reigate Borough, and Reigate Foreign.

Parish church:

Parish registers begin:

  • Parish registers: 1556
  • Bishop’s Transcripts: 1679

Separate registers exist for Redhill

  • Parish registers: 1843
  • Bishop’s Transcripts: None

Nonconformists include: Baptist, Independent/Congregational, Roman Catholic, Society of Friends/Quaker, and Wesleyan Methodist.

Parishes Adjacent to Reigate

  • Leigh
  • Buckland
  • Banstead
  • Nutfield
  • Kingswood
  • Betchworth
  • Horley
  • Gatton

Historical Descriptions of Reigate

The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

REIGATE, a town, a parish, a sub-district, a district, and a hundred, in Surrey. The town stands at the head of Holmsdale, adjacent to the Reading, Guildford, and Redhill railway, under the North Downs, 2 miles W of Redhill, and 6 E of Dorking; was anciently called Rigegate, signifying "ridge-road, " and alluding either to some ancient road across its site, or to the proximity of the Pilgrims way; was probably the place of a stronghold in the Saxon times; acquired a castle and an Augustinian priory in the Norman times; was visited, in 1275, by Edward I.; sent two members to parliament from the time of Edward I. till 1832, and one thence till 1867; was disfranchised by the reform act of 1867; figured, for some time, as a seat of assizes; is now a seat of quarter sessions, petty sessions, and county courts, and a polling-place; publishes two weekly newspapers; consists chiefly of one long street; and has a head post-office, a railway station with telegraph, a banking office, three chief inns, a police station, a town hall, a public hall, two churches, an Independent chapel, a Quakers' chapel, a national school, a British school, an endowed grammar-school with £23 a year, and charities £266.

The castle was built by one of the Earls Warrene, who anciently held the manor; was taken, in 1216, by Louis the Dauphin and the Barons; passed from the Warrenes to the Arundels and the Howards; sank into a decayed state in the early part of the time of James I.; was entirely demolished in the civil wars of Charles I.; and is now represented by an oblong grassy mound, rising about 50 feet above the general level of the town. A vault 150 feet long and about 12 feet high, and two smaller vaults, exist beneath the castle-mound; are reached by a descent of about 200 feet; have arches of a character to fix their date not earlier than the 13th century; and, though traditionally associated with meetings of the Barons in the time of King John, were probably never more than cellars and store-houses. Similar excavations exist in other parts of the town. The Angustinian priory was founded by one of the Warrenes; went, at the dissolution, to Lord Howard; passed, in 1697, to the Somerses; and is now represented by a modern mansion, called the Priory, the seat of Earl Somers. The town hall occupies the site of an ancient chapel, dedicated to St. Thomas à Becket. The public hall was built in 1861, at a cost of nearly £3,500; is in the Gothic style; and contains a main-hall, capable of accommodating 500 persons, mechanics' institution rooms, free masons' lodge-rooms, and a museum. The parochial church is mainly late decorated English, but includes portions from transition Norman to perpendicular. The churchyard contains an obelisk to the memory of Baron Masères; and a new adjacent cemetery has been added. St. Mark's church was built in 1860, at a cost of about £5,600; and is in the early decorated English style. A general market is held every Tuesday; a cattle-market, on the first Tuesday of every month; and fairs, on Whit Tuesday and 9 Dec.

The parish contains also the town of Redhill; is divided politically into borough and foreign, or the part within and the part without the borough limits prior to 1832; became conterminate with the borough, by extension of the borough boundaries, in 1832; and is cut ecclesiastically into the sections of Reigate, Reigate, St. Mark, Nutley-Lane, Redhill, St. John, and Redhill, St. Matthew or Warwick-Town. Acres, 6,008. Real property of the old borough portion, £7,297; of which £200 are in gas-works. Pop. in 1851, 1,640; in 1861, 2,008. Houses, 355. Real property of the whole, £39,723. Pop. in 1851, 4,927; in 1861, 9,975. Houses, 1,583. Mansions and villas are numerous. The land includes portions of the North Downs and the valley of the Mole. Fuller's earth, fire-stone, and fine silicious white sand are found. The head living is a vicarage, and that of St. Mark is a p.curacy, in the diocese of Winchester. Value of the vicarage, £418; of the p. curacy, £400. Patron of the former, the Rev. J. N. Harrison; of the latter, the Bishop of Winchester. The sub-district contains also the parishes of Betchworth, Buckland, Headley, Walton-on-the-Hill, Gatton, Chipstead, and Chaldon, and the liberty of Kingswood. Acres, 22,726. Pop. in 1851, 8,478; in 1861, 13,704. Houses, 2,304. The district comprehends also the sub-district of Horley, containing the parishes of Horley, Leigh, Charlwood, Burstow, Nutfield, and Merstham. Acres of the district, 51,276. Poor-rates in 1863, £13,425. Pop. in 1851, 14,329; in 1861, 20,109. Houses, 3,434. Marriages in 1863, 127; births, 696, of which 23 were illegitimate; deaths, 406, of which 142 were at ages under 5 years, and 8 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 1,014; births; 5,507; deaths, 2,959. The places of worship, in 1851, were 16 of the Church of England, with 4,113 sittings; 5 of Independents, with 882 s.; 4 of Baptists, with 375 s.; 1 of Quakers, with 240 s.; and 2 undefined, with 110 s. The schools were 21 public day-schools, with 1370 scholars; 16 private day-schools, with 298 s.; and 11 Sunday schools, with 586 s. The workhouse is in Reigate foreign; and, at the census of 1861, had 183 inmates. The hundred is mainly identical with the district, but less extensive; contains eleven parishes and part of another; and is cut into two divisions, first and second. Acres, 31,214 and 14,218 Pop. in 1851, 10,056 and 3, 318; in 1861, 19,143. Houses, 3,242.

Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A. Fullarton & Co. N. d. c. [1870-72].

Parish Records


Online Records (Free)

England, Surrey Parish Registers, 1536-1992

Maps of Reigate

Vision of Britain historical maps


County: Surrey
Civil Registration District: Reigate
Probate Court: Court of the Archdeaconry of Surrey
Diocese: Winchester
Rural Deanery: Ewell
Poor Law Union: Reigate
Hundred: Reigate
Province: Canterbury